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Saunders shows support for Marston title bid

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British, Commonwealth and WBO International Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders is the latest to voice his support for Trad TKO Gym mate Marianne Marston, ahead of her challenge for the WBU European Super Bantamweight title, at the York Hall on March 1.

Saunders, who is widely rumoured to be facing Italy’s Emanuele Blandamura for the vacant European crown in April, surprised Trad TKO head Johnny Eames by making a point of pulling him aside and praising Marston.

Discovered and mentored by late, great heavyweight Joe Frazier in 2007, Marston’s steely determination to succeed in the sport has clearly impressed some of the biggest names in the sport, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Others to have lent their support include former two-time world cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham and light middleweight champion Robert Hines, as well as British light welterweight champion Darren Hamilton, cruiserweight champion Leon Williams and her current sparring partner, the British and European bantamweight champion Ian Napa.

It was only in April 2013 that Marston got to live her dream and box professionally, after suffering several well publicised setbacks to her career over the preceding years.

Since then she has gone on to fight and win twice by first round TKO, which not only earned her the prized accolade of being ranked the number one Pound For Pound female British boxer by BoxRec.com, but also led to her being invited to challenge for titles by two world sanctioning organisations on just her third pro outing.

Saunders made it clear that the respect and support Marston receives is not just for her boxing ability, but another major factor being her total dedication in the gym.

He said: “I’m really pleased Marianne is getting a shot at a title, she’s got the whole gym behind her. We all want her to win, so try and help in anyway we can.

“We want her to bring another belt back to the gym, we’re building quite a collection this season!

“Besides mine you have Frankie’s (WBO European super middleweight champion Buglioni), Freddie’s (Southern Area light middleweight champion Turner) and Joel’s (International Masters light heavyweight champion McIntyre).

“Now Marianne, if anyone deserves it she does. She’s probably one of the hardest trainers in the gym, she puts a lot of work in and doesn’t make excuses, she just cracks on with it.

“She works her heart out and that’s the key thing in the game, when you work that hard you deserve to get something out of it.

“She spars good fighters up here, Ian Napa, young Sam (Cantwell) and Joe (Stevens) amongst others, everyone here at the gym wants her to win and is doing their bit to make sure she has the best camp possible.

“It’s hard for her, there’s a bit of pressure on her as well really, but she copes well with it, she comes in and gets on with her training.

“Sometimes I walk into the gym and see her flat out. After I’ve finished and had a shower, she’s still training flat out and I think, well she’s got more energy and stamina than I have.

“There’s no doubt she deserves this title shot, we’re all hoping she’ll win the belt and reap the rewards for the effort she puts in at the gym. It’ll be real nice to see her win the title.”

Marianne Marston versus Galina Gumliiska for the vacant WBU European super bantamweight title co-headlines the Dave Murphy Acourtier Events show at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday March 1.

Tickets priced £35 (Standard Seated) and £60 (Ringside) are available direct from the Trad TKO Gym in Canning Town or by calling the box office ticket line on 07960 850645.

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